Alvin Harold Bishop, Jr. (Al), 77, of Texarkana, Texas, died Sunday, December 5, 2010 in Wadley Hospital.
Al was born April 8, 1933 in Greenville, South Carolina. Al was preceded in death by his parents and one daughter, Sharon Marie Berman.
Survivors include his wife, Patricia Richardson Bishop (Patty); two daughters, Terry Ann Essman and Linda Jean Mavrdlas; one stepdaughter and stepson-in-law, Deena and Bryan Davidson, St. Louis, MO, brother, Gene Bishop, sister, Maxine Bishop, two special cousins, JoAnn Pike and Don Riddle, all of Greenville, S.C., two step granddaughters, Allyssa Paije and Lindsey Rose Davidson, many nieces and nephews and other relatives.
Even though Al was a very public, hospitable man, he was a private man of many issues. He wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread by his family and friends over the waters at Cape Canaveral, Florida and he wanted no ceremony but a get together of all those he loved and those who loved him, which is many people. Very good friends, Leveen and Frank Purifoy, 2822 Walnut, are having a Remember Al get together Wednesday, December 8, 2010, at their home from 6:00 8:00 P.M. A permanent memorial is planned for Al at Cape Canaveral. Anyone wishing to remember Al may contribute to the Al Bishop NASA memorial fund at Texar FCU, 2301 Richmond Road, Texarkana, Texas 75505-6085. When the decision is made on the memorial, every donor will be notified. This was not Als idea, but Pattys and all of his space friends and would be very much to his liking. At a later date, a ceremony will be planned in Florida and everyone will be notified.
Al had a very long, successful career and many of his friends say he lived 10 dream lives. Al served his country in the Korean war in the Air Force. He then finished his education and earned a Masters Degree in engineering and came within a few hours of earning his law degree. He was actually well known for his marketing and promotions. He began his career in Omaha, Nebraska, with General Dynamics putting Atlas missiles in silos for the Air Force with Atlas Base Activation. In 1962 Al came to RCA (Radio Corporation of America) Defense Electronics Corporation to work on the SAINT Satellite Inspector Program in Burlington, MA, where he was transferred to Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral to establish a base of operations for the program. In 1965 he joined RCA in Van Nuys CA for the Saturn/Apollo Program where he established a Corporate public relations office for RCAs involvement in the space program. He later manned the public relations office for Cape Canaveral where he coordinated activities in the space related programs occurring in the Southeastern 15 United States.
After the Apollo Program, in 1968, Al joined the Hughes Corporation in Las Vegas, NV, as a Public Relations Director for Robert Mahue, Chief Executive Officer for Howard Hughes. After the departure of Hughes, Al served as Public Relations Director for Wayne Newton. He also became vice president of the Sahara Casino and Hotel where he was for many years. Later Al continued his relationship in the Apollo program by building a full scale model of the space shuttle and other Apollo equipments in Australia. These were displayed at the 1987 World Design Exposition held in Gifu, Japan.
For many years Al put on the Coors Gold Tournament for his good friend, Frank Sinatra at the desert ranch.
Al was so popular and well known in Florida that when he left there was a conscious decision to make Als home the new home away from home for the astronauts as he entertained them there so much.
Als many accomplishments are too many to name but among them are the following.
He was hired between January 30 and February 12, 1962 to the Gemini Project Office (Feb.21, 1962 Roundup) and in 1969 the Apollo 10 music tape. Some awards are:
1973 NASA Exceptional Service Medal for work in Skylab Program Office (11/9/73 Roundup)
Apollo Spacecraft Program Office-Head of Project Engineering Office and System Engineering Office.
Skylab Program Office-Head of Missions
1981-NASA Certificate of Appreciation (9/11/81 Roundup)
1986-NASA Exceptional Service Medal (11/21/86 Roundup)
1988-NASA Exceptional Service Medal for Return to Flight (12/16/88 Roundup)
Al has continued to take groups to the launches and had planned to be there in February, 2011.
Al took the first investors to Mississippi to start the casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and then helped open one of the first casinos.
Al is a Master Gardener and helped to organize the Neighborhood Watches in Highland Park East. He and Patty are the Neighborhood Watch Chairmen of their own watch. He also is past Bowie County Republican chair.
Al was a Christian and a very loving, caring person. He will be sorely missed by his wife Patty, as well as his neighbors and many, many friends all over the country.
Born: April 8, 1933
Death: December 5, 2010
This memorial provided by:
TEXARKANA FUNERAL HOME